Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Let's get Natty!

It's hard not to be disturbed by the images on Sportscenter. A figure leaps up in a rage, wades up into a crowd of people, touching off a firestorm of violence. People rush around, grabbing, pulling, trading blows, putting up a fierce resistance. It's complete chaos, utter madness, a thoroughly distressing and disturbing scene.

Nooooo, I'm not talking about Ron Artest taking on the city of Detroit. I'm talking about Adam Eidinger bumrushing the stage of the press conference to protest the newly named Washington Nationals and the plan to publicly finance a new stadium. The Deceiver remains resolute: considering there are only about ten-thousand people willing to root for a Washington Baseball team, a fifteen-thousand seat stadium will do fine. Nevertheless, Eidinger--who comes across as the world's most aggrieved Barenaked Ladies fan--injected a little populist drama into what would otherwise be an upbeat gathering. I feel Eidinger's pain. I really do. The last thing DC needs is to float a bunch of bonds to pay for something that'll mainly be enjoyed by out-of-towners rooting for their visiting faves and Congressional fatcats looking to dole out a little largesse. But what Adam doesn't understand is that Washington DC has made a deal with the devil (in the guise of the MLB, but who's fooling who now), and the devil is ALWAYS gonna collect. Ask Peter Angelos, baby!

The Washington Nationals. Well, it'll be reminiscent of the airport. And once again, we plunge into a tradition of team names that spawn shortened forms that make the team sound dorky, in this case, we will soon be stuck with "The Nats"--which is okay if you are say, Nat Turner. But it reminds me of going to Washington Diplomats games and joining the cheer: "Let's go Dips!"

But, if there's a positive in all of this, it's this: the Montreal Expos truly do suck canal water. At least they'll have an actual canal to suck it from.


Anonymous said...

Now, Mr. DCeiver:

I am a close personal friend of yours who rabidly hates baseball. I firmly believe that the quality of life that Americans enjoy would be greatly improved if we took the countless hours of standing around in the middle of a field that a pro baseball player does each season and forced them to devote that time to something useful like picking up trash next to the highway.

But. Your repeated insistence that there are 10,000 people interested in baseball in this town flies in the face of the evidence. They've already taken more than 10,000 DEPOSITS - at $300 each - on season tickets for next year, according to this Washington Post article. And my guess is that on a good day, with a good opponent, they'll double that.

Knowing my personal opinion of the sport, you also must know that I do NOT think this makes baseball somehow good. After all, Bush got the popular vote, right? So clearly, just because lots of people are behind something doesn't mean it won't impoverish them.

Consider the massive appropriation of public resources for private gain, I think they should have just called the team the Washington Reagans.

The Deceiver said...

I am not at all surprised that that many tickets have been sold. The question I have is this: How many were sold to rabid fans, sworn and dedicated to cheer lustily for the Home Team, forsaking all others? And how many have bought tickets for the opportunity to see their out of town faves come to town, who plan to support a team other than the Nats? And how many have bought tickets as corporate and political awards to cronies galore?

The failure to fall into any category other than the first means that I officially don't give a damn about you, and furthermore, I doubt that too many DC residents want to subsidize the amusement of others. But all that is going to happen because of the deal with the devil. My contention is this: there exist about 10,000 people who, on any given day are going to go out to this ballpark and root for the Nats with every fiber of their being. The rest of the stadium will be filled with looky-loos and partisans of the visitor.

One of the dirty little secrets is that this was the fate of the old Washington Senators. You'd think, for all the loud, nostalgic pining, that the Senators were a universally beloved team with fans both stout and true. In fact, the Senators took the field in DC each and every day in front of a crowd that was mostly rooting against them or totally indifferent to the cause. At the end of the day, they were a team that not too many people cared about--it's just that those that did never stopped crying about it.

So, to perhaps redefine my terms: The Washington Nationals will be perhaps one of the most poorly SUPPORTED teams in the League, if not the most. If you build a 10,000 seat stadium, chances are everyone there will be fully committed. But if the Nationals move into a 50,000 seat arena (and that's a pretty modest-sized stade), then there will be one fan to every four non-fans in attendance.

Like I said, none of this is going to stop any of the wheels that are in motion, which are all acting independently of the wants and desires of DC baseball fans.

But you can certainly guarantee yourself of never seeing the gale force support the Red Sox get in Boston, or the Yankees in NY, or even the Royals in KC!--and it's not going to help matters any that the team is going to arrive a loser and most likely suck ass in perpetuity. After a brief flirtation, DCers will return to their true loves: NFL football and college/HS Basketball.

Anonymous said...

I don't think people are signing up to buy season tickets because they want to cheer for the Mets the 20 or so times they're in town.* Especially because regular-game tickets will be so easy to come by.

I'm just saying the 10,000 rule won't really hold. I think there will be a lot more. Note again, I'm not saying this is a GOOD thing. I just think you're underestimating the degree to which it is a bad thing. A 10,000-seat stadium is legitimately too small for a team that has sold more than 10,000 season tickets a week after it became a franchise. Although I'll grant you, a 50,000-seat stadium is probably too large.

Still, it'll be nice to have a major-league team around that the United can outdraw.

*(I have no idea how often division rivals play each other in baseball, and I don't care, so anybody who wants to nitpick here can suck it.)